Gov. George Pataki speaks at New York Presbyterian Hospital in...

Gov. George Pataki speaks at New York Presbyterian Hospital in New York. (Mar. 1, 2006) Credit: AP

ALBANY -- After sending signals that he might join the Republican fray, former Gov. George Pataki said Friday he won't run for president after all.

Pataki issued a statement announcing his decision Friday afternoon -- the day before he was set to appear at a significant Iowa GOP fundraiser to possibly declare his candidacy. The three-term governor said he would instead remain as leader of No American Debt, a political action committee he launched this year.

"I remain committed to the advancement of real, politically viable reforms to entitlements and rolling back the size and cost of the federal government," Pataki said.

"At this time, I will continue to do this as the leader of No American Debt and not as a candidate for president. Throughout the coming months, I will remain active in this important discussion and support the candidate who offers the vision, the ideas and the leadership to bring an end to America's debt crisis," he said.

Aides said Pataki decided against the run based on family concerns. However, many analysts agreed that, as a moderate, Pataki never stood much of a chance anyway at a time when tea party activists are dominating the party. They also noted that he would be jumping in rather late compared with other contenders.

Gerald Benjamin, a longtime political observer and dean at SUNY New Paltz, said Pataki's record as governor -- especially supporting abortion rights and pay raises for union members -- made him a long shot to win GOP presidential primaries.

"What a Republican must do to win in New York and then stay in office . . . takes him or her out of the pool for possible Republican presidential candidates," Benjamin said.

The last New Yorker elected president was Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1944. The last New York Republican nominated for president was Thomas Dewey in 1948.

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